Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't forget about the easy stuff

The 2 simplest things to do to keep your bike in the best running condition is keeping your drive train clean/lubricated and making sure your tires are inflated. Not sure how many bikes you can find on the trails whose tires are way too low on air, and their chain is super noisy. Here is what you need to do...


Tire Pressure: If you have a floor pump at home with a tire gauge you already have the best tool. If you don't that is ok too, you can either stop and use one of ours whenever you are in the neighborhood or stop at the local gas station (remember if you have Presta values "the funny looking ones" you either need a pump that will work with those, or a presta adaptor). Unless your tire is really old and worn out you should be able to read a tire pressure recommendation on the sidewall. It's usually easiest to just bring pressure right in the middle of the recommendation. Once your tire is at the correct pressure you can squeeze the tire to see how hard the tire is, and use this feeling as a way to check your tire pressure before every ride. A low pressure not only will make your ride a lot more work, but you are also at higher risk for pinch flats.

Cleaning/Lubricating Chain: All you need for this job is a simple degreaser, chain lube, and some kind of brush. Below are favorites of a lot of us at the shop, the degreaser is new for us but is becoming a favorite as well. It's not as harsh as a lot of the degreasers available, there is a lot less waste and works awesome!  Finally some sort of brush like Park Tool's below. Dip brush in degreaser scrub the chain inside and out along with the crank, front chain rings, the cassette/gears in back and also the derailleurs. Let it sit for a couple of seconds and with just running water from a hose (NOT PRESSURIZED) rinse the degreaser off. Your drivetrain should be clean at this point, if not repeat. After clean and dried off, take your bottle of lube and drip down only the center of the chain while pedaling backwards so that you are able to cover entire length of chain. You only need to lubricate the center of the chain, any excess on the outside of chain will just build up with grime. With a rag or old tshirt, wipe the entire chain to get excess lube. Finally run through chain one more time with lube with a very light coat and you are done. One bottle of chain lube should last a long time. If you are flying through it either you are biking an insane amount of miles or applying way too much.

Bike Medicine: Purple Extreme and Golden Degreaser
Park Tools Brush

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